Methylation is what occurs when the body takes one substance and turns it into another, so that it can be detoxified and excreted from the… is how genes do the right thing and DNA is protected. One’s methylation ability is determined by blood levels of Homocysteine is an amino acid found in the blood. Elevated levels of homocysteine have been associated with narrowing and hardening of the arteries, an increased… – the higher your homocysteine the worse is methylation and the greater are the chances of not conceiving, or having pregnancy problems. An extreme example of this is neural tube defects (spina bifida). This is conceived of as a result of folate deficiency rich in greens and beans, hence the recommendation that women trying to conceive consume 400mcg a day, but really it is a methylation problem. Lack of B12, a real concern for vegans who don’t supplement, is also a problem. B6 and What it does: Component of over 200 enzymes in the body, essential for growth, important for healing, controls hormones, aids ability to cope with stress… are also involved. So it’s best to supplement a high strength ‘multi’ providing, for example, B6 20mg, folate 400mcg, B12 10mcg and zinc 15mg just to be on the safe side. Even better is to check your homocysteine level. Below 7µmol/l is optimal. The risk associated with older mothers is more to do with methylation, which protects DNA. So, older mums would do well to check their homocysteine and keep it down with homocysteine lowering supplements.
Essential Fats & Antioxidants
The two other critical factors are having the right balance of essential fats – both omega-6 from seeds and omega-3 from oily fish, chia and flax, plus dark green leafy veg are vital for conception – and antioxidants. The primary source of damage to DNA comes from oxidation. However, the evidence of a direct link to female fertility is weaker than it is to sperm quality, which is, of course, the other side of the fertility equation. Coenzyme Q10 (or ubiquinol), given at relatively high daily amounts of 180mg up to 600mg, has been shown to increase chances of conception in a number of studies. I’d recommend supplementing an all round antioxidant including vitamins A,C, E and What it does: Antioxidant properties help to protect against free radicals and carcinogens, reduces inflammation, stimulates immune system to fight infections, promotes a healthy heart,…, plus extra CoQ or ubiquinol, as well as a supplement providing both omega-3 and omega-6, ideally either borage oil or evening primrose oil for a direct source of Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) is an essential fatty acid within the omega-6 family. It is found primarily in plant based oils such as evening primrose… for the best chances of conception. Vitamin D is important too.
Weight, Blood Sugar Control and Stress
One of the main factors that affects fertility is having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis. PCOS is strongly linked to being overweight, and both tie in to a loss of blood sugar control and excessive stress. When the mind triggers a stress reaction the body stops supporting conception. Rebound blood sugar lows, a consequence of eating a high sugar of GL diet, trigger release of adrenal hormones. Stress, that is the release of adrenal hormones, uses up Progesterone is one of the main female sex hormones…. to make the adrenal hormone Cortisol has been nicknamed ‘the stress hormone’ as it is released in higher levels during the body’s flight or fight response to stress. Levels of… instead of oestrogens and Testosterone is a male sex hormone important for sexual and reproductive development…., so vital for sex drive. Low progesterone levels, potentially a result of too much stress, is a major cause of early miscarriage and the reason why progesterone is given to women receiving IVF to increase the chances of conception. So, losing weight, eating a low GL diet and building stress resilience are vital factors for achieving a healthy pregnancy.
Optimum Diet for Pregnancy
While this defines an optimal diet for pregnancy – high in Antioxidants are substances that protect cells within the body from damage caused by free radicals. They help to strengthen the body’s ability to fight infection… rich fruit and veg, essential fats from fish, nuts and seeds, wholefoods with a low GL, hence avoiding sugar – the other critical pregnancy food factor is Proteins are large molecules consisting of chains of amino acids. Proteins are essential nutrients for the human body – they are a building block of… literally used to build a baby. That is why the pregnancy requirement for protein goes up by 13 per cent – from 45g a day (or 15 per cent of total calories) to around 51g. Since eating protein with slow-releasing carbohydrates even further lowers the GL (glycemic load) having breakfasts and main meals combining the two is a good way to go. This could be nuts or seeds with cereal and a nut milk such as almond, or eggs with a wholegrain toast, or yoghurt with berries, seeds or nuts.
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